My Computer Is On Life Support…

But I think it will pull through.  Maybe.

I will chronicle my insane journey to the depths of tech support hell, for anyone who might get a kick out of it.  It’s worth a read, it’s almost comical how many things have gone wrong.

A week or so ago I apparently clicked a bad link somewhere because I got about 20 viruses, trojans and various other nasty bits of malware at once, including a bit of adware that redirected links I clicked on to spam pages and one that stopped my firewall from updating, deleted Spybot Search And Destroy from my computer, stopped my internet browsers from connecting and when I finally got my browser to work again, blocked me from going to anti-spyware websites like the one for spybot.  I had to trick it by using a proxy browser thing

So I did the only sensible thing and ran every virus scanner known to man (well, known to this man).  And that got rid of them…  all but one.  That one apparently was a “legitimate” piece of spyware designed to spy on business computers of your employees, monitor kids’ access to the net etc (which is still kind of shitty, especially the second one).  And it kept re-spawning every day or so.

So I tried to get rid of it over and over again, and then one day BOOM, another 20 or so viruses, I try to scan my computer and it says it needs to reboot to get some of the viruses – I click okay and it starts to shut down, then freezes mid-shutdown and when I manually reboot it gives me the blue screen of death.  Safe mode etc don’t work.

So I figure I need to download and burn a rescue CD from someplace like avira to clean my boot sector from the CD so I can reboot.

So I try to do it on someone else’s PC, but their burner doesn’t work.  So I ask my sister to burn one, and she says she can get it to me by the next day at 7pm.  So in the meantime I spend forever dismantling an old dell PC tower I had lying around which was apparently designed by a sadist who didn’t want anyone to ever remove any disk drives (except the A drive, which comes out easily, very fucking useful).  I finally get the PoS PC tower open (the front panel has three hidden tabs you have to push simultaneously to remove it in order to get the disk drives out).  Once I’m done with the dell puzzle box, I plug the CDR drive into the other PC, only to find that it also doesn’t work.  After hours of troubleshooting it turns out you have to right click on the drive in the device manager and tell your computer it can burn CDs, then it will let it burn CDs…  How can my computer know it’s a CDR drive and not know wtf the R stands for?  Is there some hidden box I have to check on some obscure menu to tell my computer that you can type into text documents too?  Do I have to let my computer know that my graphics card is a graphics card and not a toaster?

Anyway, moving on (and btw I’m skipping several steps to be kind, there’s more shit), I finally burn the rescue CD.

So boot up my PC with the rescue CD in there, and get my computer to boot the disk drive first, and it boots up and…  It runs in some crappy VGA mode which only shows half of the screen, so I can see the pretty logo at the top of the screen but can’t see (or click on) those all-important options at the bottom of the screen 1) “start scan”, and 2) change the fucking language to english.

So back to someone else’s computer to google a solution.  I find out it’s supposedly my dell monitor that’s the problem, so I haul an old e-machines monitor to my room and install that, aaaand the same problem.  Thank you anonymous guy on some geek forum for the workout, I really appreciate it.

So then I keep googling on someone else’s computer and it turns out that you can press CTR+ALT+BACKSPACE and get a dos-prompt interface in the rescue CD program, then all you have to do is type in some weird sentence-long command and it will scan your computer! 

Hallelujah!  I’m an atheist but at this point I’m thinking maybe there is a god and he uses windows.

But no.  I try to type the command, and start typing weird symbols and gibberish.

Turns out, this is what german keyboards look like:

After about half an hour I decipher the enigma code and re-learn how to type a fucking sentence into my own computer aaand?

Raise your hand if you guessed that it didn’t help?  BINGO.  It thinks about the command for all of two seconds, declares that it has scanned my entire harddrive and that I have no viruses.  I think this was some kind of easter egg joke put in by the programmers.  It couldn’t scan a floppy disk in that time frame, let alone gigabytes of illegally pirated software, music and pornography.

But I’m an optimist and hope springs eternal, so I figure “hey, maybe it scanned my boot sector or ram or something, and it will help”.

It didn’t help.  It did nothing.  Blue screen of death.

So then I give up on avira and start looking for someone else who has a rescue disk.  I get one from kasperski or something, and it works!  It takes forever, but it scans my harddrive and clears a shitton of viruses off of it.  YAY!  So I boot up my computer aaaand?

Blue screen of death.

About this time I was thinking about what a new PC tower would cost on ebay.

But hope springs eternal.  So (skipping more steps to be nice), I try a windows repair.  I figure if it killed that many viruses and it won’t boot up, they must’ve damaged my windows files somehow and that’s what’s giving me BSOD (blue screen of death).  So I try a windows repair and there are more problems which I will skip again to be nice, and then I reinstall windows, which freezes halfway through but starts over where it left off when I reboot (FINALLY technology does something smart) and when it’s finally done my computer boots up!  I scan my system with every virus program I have and nuke a few lingering viruses off of it, aaaand…  my firewall won’t start.

Turns out my firewall won’t work because the windows repair set me back to windows XP service pack 1, which means that not only does my firewall not work, but I have to leave access to the net open for hours with no firewall while it downloads a decade’s worth of windows security updates and installs them.

So I am doing that now.  And so far my computer has not died.

My computer downloads 50 or 60 updates, then prompts me to reboot so it can install them, then when I do it downloads the next 50 or 60.  Now if you will excuse me I have to go, my computer is telling me it’s downloaded service pack 2.  I bid you adieu.

Hope you enjoyed my week.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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11 Responses to My Computer Is On Life Support…

  1. it’s bad when your computer goes on life support, especially when your life is on computer support.good luck.

  2. Well, you’ve got more computer knowledge than me, that’s for sure.  I got the blue screen of death once on my old PC.  My friend had a friend who was a computer geek so she called him up.  He managed to help me break through the BSOD and I was able to back up.  Only the back up failed.   And I lost everything.  Totally crashed hard drive.And then a few weeks ago (I have a mac now) I got the question mark screen of death which if you haven’t figured out already is the equivalent to the blue screen of death on a PC.  Total hard drive crash again.  For no reason whatsoever.  Sigh.  The good news is, instead of what happens to PC when they’re going to crash (start slowing down, freezing up, crashing constantly) it just DIED.  There was no lead up to the death.  It was quite sudden. 

  3. @x_Butterflies_and_Hurricanes_x – I have only ever lost one Mac, but the death is so sudden that it’s pretty much devastating.

  4. mommachatter says:

    I know where the on and off button is…does that help?   I started having problems with my computer but from where I was sitting I couldn’t tell whether the problem was with me or my ISP….They were generally pretty nice guys that helped me even when sometimes it was my screw up.  They told me how to fix it quickly….er once I got them on the phone.  I called at the beginning of Titanic and they answered the phone during the credits. ~ mom

  5. YouToMe says:

    I feel ya… That day will live on in infamy..of the day your puter crashed and the day I found that indeed everyone digests 😛

  6. The endless stream of dying PCs is why my wife and I now have two MacBooks.

  7. agnophilo says:

    @Airborne_Muse – I actually fixed the computer, it’s now virus-free and working better than it did before.  Took a lot of effort and time though.  The reason most people give up when their computer breaks I suspect is that they no longer have internet access to be able to fix the computer, lol.

  8. @agnophilo – That’s awesome.  Glad to hear you were able to fix it.  I held out against Apple for decades, but I gotta say, I am loving this computer.  I think when DOS gave way to Windows, and the ability to get to the command line and really control your own computer went away, the PC’s advantages over the Mac vanished.

  9. agnophilo says:

    @Airborne_Muse – You can still get a dos prompt in windows, but yeah.

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